Monday, December 24, 2007
Yup, it's that time of year: the point where I trot out the old year-in-review meme and slap down a few answers. To whit:
1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before? Published a Doctor Who story, volunteered at my daughter’s school, saw publication in the Year’s Best F&H, planted a vegetable garden, mentored a writer online.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No, and no: as per the pirate code, I consider them more like goideloines.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No, but that should change next year, when Lyn’s best friend’s daughter has her baby.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No. I remember the day the music died, but we hadn't spoken for years.
5. What countries did you visit? None. I wanted to visit the country of the blind, and even poked out one eye, but then never got around to it. Should have planned things a bit better, on reflection...
6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? Peace. Tranquility. Career advancement.
7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? None in particular: the year was highlighted only by the change in depth of craptitude.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Sending 14 stories out and selling 7. The Dr Who and Year’s Best publications. Picking and eating home grown tomatoes and strawberries.
9. What was your biggest failure? Cassandra.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? A mystery stomach illness that had me bedridden for nearly a fortnight, a chest infection that never really went away, a lot of physical pain generally.
11. What was the best thing you bought? The solar lights for the patio gardens are beautiful, the fans for the kids bedrooms are doing great work, but the family iPod and its car-player are, perhaps, the best buys this year.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Lyn, as always: the way she has struggled through depression, harassment, and the emotional bullying her daughter handed out was a source of inspiration. Aiden, also, has blossomed this year, into an amazing young man, with poise, maturity, and self-confidence, and it’s been a joy to be a part of it.\
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? Cassandra. A descent into criminality, hatred, and bile that almost spelled ruin for Lyn and I. Last year, I hoped for the return of my favourite Bonus daughter. This year, I have no hope for that at all.
14. Where did most of your money go? The house. Transport to and from work. Lunch.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Not much, really. The continuing refinements to the house and gardens. Losing weight, until that stalled and began to move in the opposite direction again. Seeing my name in a Dr Who book- dorky, I know, but something I wished for as a kid and never seriously thought I’d see
16. What song will always remind you of 2007? “Days” by the Kinks. “Grace Kelly” by Mika. “C is for Cookie” by Cookie Monster- I’ve taken a lot of car trips with the kids this year….
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer? Sadder, thinner, richer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Writing. Being with my family. Being happy. Ignoring the bloodsuckers and emotional vampires.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Hating. Feeling helpless. Carrying around depression and anger. Failing. Hurting.
20. How will you be spending Christmas? Picking children up, dropping children off.\
21. Who did you meet for the first time? Sally Harding, my new work acquaintances, Mark Smith-Briggs, the 2007 Clarionites, Jasoni and Amazon Kate, Kelly Link & Gavin Grant, Gardner Dozois, the lovely people at Queensland Writer’s Centre.
22. Did you fall in love in 2007? Stayed in love.
23. What was your favourite TV program? Neat. The City Gardener. From Junky to Funky. The Family Guy. Time Team. Garden Invaders.
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Just myself.
25. What was the best book you read? The Portrait of Mrs Charbaque by Geoffrey Ford, by a street. Also James Tiptree Jr: The Double Life of Alice B Sheldon by Julie Phillips (Proof that one man’s literary hero is another’s egocentric, drug-addled murderer). Special mention to Geoffrey Ryman’s short, Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter which is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read: haunting, beautiful, terrible, perfect.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Richard Cheese was both cool and hilarious. Mika is a lot of fun, especially the high-rotation-at-our-house Grace Kelly. But again, it was a case of what is old is new: A Hot-Fuzz-Soundtrack driven rediscovery of The Kinks and their brilliant back catalogue, especially Days, which I have decided to have played at my funeral, Death of a Clown which inspired a to-be-written-in-2008 novel, and Plastic Man, eternally changed by Erin into ‘The Song With The Plastic Bum’.
27. What was your favourite film of this year? A very thin year for fillums due to lack of opportunity. We just didn’t get out to them. Casino Royale was excellent, as was Hot Fuzz. Howl's Moving Castle, which we saw on DVD, was delightful. The Illusionist was okay, at least better than that over-rated Jackman/Baile one whose name escapes me. Transformers was a laugh, but mainly because I went with the boys. Ratatouille was decent, but nothing more. Must make mention of Bee Movie, however, which walks away with the prize for biggest pile of shit viewed this year. Jerry, if you’re reading, just stop. Please: just stop.
28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 37. Kept it quiet. Was in the middle of a minicon at the time, so apart from a lovely panel audience rendition of Happy Birthday, led by my good friend Stephen, just cruised through it. Did a panel on Wacky WWII Nazi weapons. As you do.
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Happiness. Cassandra joining the decent side of humanity. Advancing my career in a meaningful way.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? Same as last year: fat.\
31. What kept you sane? Gardening. Frisbee with the kids. Facebook, to distraction (Oooh, I just thought of New Year’s resolution…), The CI Channel, comfort eating, Lyn Lyn Lyn Lyn LYN.
32. What political issue stirred you the most? Even the Federal election was a humdrum non-event. Hard to care about industrial reform when you’re driving through the night to pick your kid out of gaol.
33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007. Doors are built to keep the world out, and they're not just physical.
34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I was a, was a kamikaze pilot
They gave me a plane, I couldn’t fly it home.
Taught me how to take off, I didn’t know how to land.
They say it doesn’t matter and I just cannot understand.
-- I was a Kamikaze Pilot, Hoodoo Gurus
So there you go. Same time next year!
Friday, December 21, 2007
…….. you don't fit in:
LEE: It's all a matter of what you're willing to sacrifice, and I'd rather sacrifice money than family.
WORK ACQUAINTANCE: Yeah.
LEE: And, you know, I'd rather sacrifice a goat than a virgin.
REST OF TEAM: ……….. (stares)………….
Saturday, December 15, 2007
So have a gander and see what the Father-of-nerds found his kids playing with as he wandered through the dining room this morning.
Of course, what was really nerdy was having to explain to them why they weren't for playing with....
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
So why, I hear none of you cry, has it been so long, and why, none of you echo, have my messages been so damn depressed-sounding lately?
Three weeks ago, I fell ill. No idea why, really, but it resulted in two weeks off work, and on the 27th, I spent most of my day in hospital being checked out for suspected appendicitis (it wasn't).
The following afternoon, we received a phone call, and spent three hours driving to Bunbury to bail out Darth Barbie, who'd been arrested.
She's been with us since then. To say it has been easy would be... wrong. Normally, I'd be all ranty and get it all off my chest, but this one is different, I think. This girl hs been allowed to go so far off the rails that bringing her back into a normal sphere of thinking is too important, and ultimately, too private. I feel like we're fighting to bring someone back from the precipice, and it's exhausting, it's frequently devastating, and we spend almost the entirety of our time trying to keep our family unity together in the face of a child whose only recourse to dealing with the world is to spit hatred and anger at those trying to save her.
This family is going for a long walk. We may be some time.
You know, and I know, and that guy over there knows, that Christmas carols suck the farts out of dead pigeons. But you know, and I know, that for some reason known only to themselves, shopping centres and every relative you have that holds a party you’re forced to attend despite the fact you’re quite happy with the fact that you haven’t seen them since last Christmas don’t seem to understand the suckage of these vile and saccharine odes to Bing Crosby’s ongoing need to fund his child beating activities. (Heya, Bing. Don’t ever change, you lovable and heart-wearming dead guy, you, dooby-dooby-doo)
So, by way of a public service, and in an effort to get some rock and roll (not to mention discord) into your family drunken-street-cricket shenanigans this year, allow me to present Battersby’s 10 Songs to beat Rudolph to Death With list.
1. Apocalypso- Mental As Anything. Santa gets drunk while the world blows itself up. Yeah, baby!
2. Happy Xmas (War is Over)- John Lennon. So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Got shot? Wow, bummer.
3. Oi To The World- The Vandals. Smelly punks try to be sincere about playing nice at Christmas. Head-bangy and snurky all at once.
4. This is Christmas- Slade. Everybody else gets loaded and shouts Christmas songs at the top of their voice to cover up the fact they don’t remember the lyrics, why shouldn’t Noddy Holder?
5. Santa’s Beard- They Might Be Giants. Someone pretends to be Santa in order to move into the narrator’s house and prong his wife. Sounds like a lot of hard work to me.
6. Do They Know It’s Christmas?- Band Aid. Feed the world and destroy the ozone layer getting your hair ready for the film clip. Here’s a tip on how you can feed Africa- take the buffet table away from Simon Le Bon.
7. Detachable Penis- King Missile. Has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas in any capacity, but just watch Nanna choke on her plum pudding when she realises what it *is* about.
8. Men’s Room, LA- Kinky Friedman. A sensitive, soul-affirming song about a man having a conversation with the picture of Jesus he’s just about to use to wipe his ass. First time I heard it, I laughed an entire Christian out my nose.
9. Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis- Tome Waites. So all-encompassingly depressing it could be a country and western song. Suicides skyrocket during Christmas. Play this for your family and watch them join the statistics.
10. The Little Drummer Boy- Joan Jett. Leather clad lesbian rockers who make songs about innocent boys beating drums give Lee a hardon.
Let me know how you get on...
Congratulations to everyone who copped a mention in the Aurealis Awards shortlist for this year. You can see the full list here. Pats on back and manly hugs especially to pal and fellow West Australian Shane Jiraiya Cummings— a little validation for some struggles in the face thereof, I hope.
ANOTHER OF THOSE "IS IT JUST ME?" MOMENTS
Watching the ridiculous amounts of time and effort expended by work acquaintances (I shudder to use the word ‘colleagues’) in putting up acres of christmas decorations over every square inch of ceiling, cubicles, and filing cabinets, can I be the only one tempted to inform management that I’m a Satanist and demand equal representation…?
“Hey! Hey, you! The dumpy middle aged woman in the elf hat! Yeah, you! Find somewhere to hang this upside-down Jesus-taking-it-from-a-goat doll, would you?”
What do you get when your six year old discovers the notion of iPod playlists, and begs for one of her own so she can listen to her favourites on the trip down to Nanna’s house?
In order of “this is my favourite ever!”-ness, the Top 10 Erin Battersby Favourite Songs Of All Time (typically, there are 11):
1. Chicago- Sufjan Stevens
2. Ballroom Blitz- The Sweet
3. Ca Plane Pour Moi- Plastic Bertrand
4. The Distance- Cake
5. Hunting Tigers- The Bonzo the Dog Doo-Dah Band
6. We Will Rock You- Queen
7. Tripping- Robbie Williams
8. The Urban Spaceman- The Bonzos, again
9. Bad Reputation- Half Cocked
10. 500 Miles- The Proclaimers
11. Stop The Cavalry- Jona Lewie
Make of that what you will...
Happy birthday to our darling daughter Erin, who turned 6 on the 5th, which means that for the first and only time in her life she gets to be twice the age of her younger brother. Next year, of course, she’ll be exactly half as old as her youngest older brother, and the year after that she’ll be exactly half the age of her eldest older brother. Who says math can’t be fun? And, of course, if she’s on a train that leaves at exactly 3 o’clock and travels south at an average of 60 kilometres per hour…...
Having dealt with the carnage created by Connor’s party the previous week, Luscious and I wisely decided to outsource Erin’s party to Dinosaur Jim’s, a playgym warehouse in Joondalup (6 months of begging by said daughter having had nothing to do with the decision….). And a bloody good time was had by all: cake and sweeties-fuelled games and playing, more Bratz/Barbie/fairy/girly merchandising than any pink-stained girlie could dream of, and all the parents sitting sedately in a corner watching someone else deal with it all :)
Next year, we’re just going to kill each kid a week before their birthday…..
Six years old, and beautiful
Some pictures speak for themselves
Monday, November 26, 2007
I was, at least, able to finish and send The Metawhore's Love Story, my submission for Agog Press' upcoming Canterbury 2100 anthology and my 13th submission for the year. I set myself for a dozen this year, so with a month to go, I'm a bit chuffed.
Next up is to finish I'm a Boy by the end of the week and send that along to The Psi-Phi Show, and then I might be able to relax this weekend and plot out the Father Muerte novel that me and my big mouth have committed to delivering to the agent by the middle of next year.
It's been a week, so can I please stop feeling so damn sick? It's been nothing but dizziness, nausea, pain in the stomach, and general shittiness beyond compare. I even spent most of the afternoon at the hospital today, establishing that yes, my GP was indeed a bit hasty, and it wasn't appendicitis after all.....
Really, I'm over it. You've had your fun. Let's move on.
Today, my little boy turned 3 years old. It's hard for me to digest: at times, his life has been such a struggle, beset by problems and setbacks such that I wondered how he'd ever get past them. But here he is, a beautiful, rambunctious, intelligent, wondrous child, with a spirit and personality I've never seen in another child his age, and my love for, and devotion to, him grows greater each day.
Happy birthday, Connor, my darling son.
THE COOLEST CAKE KNOWN TO BOY
We threw a party for the C-Train on Saturday: the grounds of the Batthome were witness to runningandjumpingandscreaminganddrinkingandeatingandmorescreamingandplaying friends and family of the birthday boy, and Luscious and I were eternally grateful to our decision to use nothing but disposable plates and cutlery. But it was huge fun for all concerned, and especially gratifying was the number of times an accompanying parent said "Thank you for having (Insert child's name). It was their first birthday party and it was great!"
But for special super duper greatness in the pike position, allow me to present the birthday cake, made from scratch by a woman who shall remain known only as my-bloody-genius-of-a-child-rearing-wife:
I ask you: how goddamn cool is that? Even the chocolate dalekanium buttons were hand made. I can't wait to see what she comes up with in ten years time, when he starts to take an interest in girls....
Yes, she is a clever girl, then.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Congratulations to Sarah and Jon on the arrival of Jack Raven Aubrey. May he grow up happy, and tall, and just to be different..... purple.
Not that I'm out of the loop or anything, but I guess if you don't have Livejournal you can't expect to find things out on time.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
...was a fun two days away from the world. Rather than bore you with a detailed Con report (If you’re like me, detailed reports of Cons you didn’t go to leave you a wee bit disinterested), some random personal highlights:
* The Wacky Weapons of WWII panel with Paul Kidd. I don’t know Paul socially, but he and I seem to work really well together on panels. It may have something to do with being two geekboys with rampant senses of humour. But it was a funny panel, a very funny panel indeed.
*A spur of the moment pool tournament between me and the boys, in an empty bar during two hours of panels we didn’t fancy attending. For the record, Blake Henry Triffitt, aged 13, is a bloody shark.
*Aiden Triffitt, Mobile Daycare. Three sets of friends brought their under-3s to the Con, and at several moments, Aiden took it upon himself to look after the kids and give said parents some adult time. Nobody told him to, nobody even asked him to. Aiden simply decided that he wanted to help, and what’s more, he was brilliant at it. And to me, it’s a measure of how trusted and respected he is already, at age 14, that the parents in question handed over their babies and then turned their attentions away without constantly checking to see if their kids were okay. They just knew that they were.
*Aiden and Kaneda Go Large. I’ve joked before about how Aiden is turning into ‘One of Ussssssss’. But I will remember this as the Con when he stopped turning, and simply was. We allowed Aiden his freedom, within the usual parental limits, and he didn’t let us down: attending panels on his own, wandering the convention space on his own merits, consorting with the friends he has made by himself (And while many of those friends are also ours, not once did I feel they hung out with him, when we weren’t around, out of anything other than genuine friendship towards him), and interacting with the convention environment as a member in his own right, rather than just ‘Lyn & Lee’s boy’. And when he attended the Saturday night party wearing his pal Kaneda’s hat and boots, and announced that they were heading down to the fan lounge to practice their stunt falls, a Fen was born :)
*The Legend of Mothers Sarah. Okay, Kylie as well, but that buggers the Manga reference….. I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for the teensy-tiny people. So I loved seeing babies Nora, Vincent, and Ellie at the con. And much kudos to a monumentally-heavy Callisto for getting through the two days with body and emotions intact.
*The all-in jokefest that started out as a panel on how to survive the apocalypse and ended up as a discussion on whether we could create a horse-drawn internet in time.
*A brand new Grant Watson comic book. My inner Grantfan says Yay. My outer Grantfan agrees.
*Dinner with friends and general attendance. I’ve been away too long.
At this stage, Swancon is theoretically possible, but financially problematic. But unlike last year, I at least want to go.
I turned 37 on Sunday, and didn’t really care, other than that my family showed their love for me by making sure I was well rewarded, and I was able to bask in the glow of their happiness. The boys, especially, blew me away, taking money from their Con budget to sneak out and buy me three DVDs when I wasn’t looking, despite the fact they’d been told that there would be no more money once they’d spent their lot. Having already bought myself the present I desired (a potentially magnificent rare protea longifolia (piccie down the bottom of the page) sapling currently dubbed The Fifty Dollar Stick), it was a touching gesture that genuinely left me speechless. I have a wonderful family, and at the risk of sounding all tree-huggy about it, I’d much rather spend a day in their happy company than be showered with all the gifts in the world. Not that I’m giving any back….
Many thanks also to my good friend Stephen Dedman, who not only presented me with a copy of Men And Cartoons by Jonathon Lethem, over which I’d been seen to lust, but led the assembled crowd in a chorus of Happy Birthday at the end of my last panel, causing me to lapse into embarrassed mumbleness.
And thank you to the long list of friends, colleagues, and facebook pals who have contacted me to wish me a happy one. A happy one was had, everyone. (Incidentally, big slaps on back to Simon Haynes and Chris Barnes, fellow no-longer-unique Remembrance Day birthday boy writer types)
But, as has become my tradition, at least mentally, I now present thee with the by-no-means-comprehensive list of famous people wot I have outlived. To whit:
THEY DIED AGED 36, POSSIBLY WITH BOOTS ON
Marilyn Monroe; Diana, Princess of Wales; Georges Bizet; George, Lord Byron; George Armstrong Custer; Veronica Guerin; Doc Holliday; Blind Lemon Jefferson; Casey Jones; Phil Lynott; Bob Marley; Maximilian Robespierre; Henri Toulouse-Lautrec; Gene Vincent; and Nathanael West.
This is, of course, hardly an exhaustive list. Feel free to contribute your own favourite dead 36 byear old, and we'll start the cloning process.
It’s been an interesting year, as far as story sales have gone. What with other projects and Real life ™, sales have somewhat resembled a cowboy riding a falling nuclear bomb. That is, they’ve been Slim Pickens (Zap! Pow Kapiiingggg! Comedy GOLD!)
Aaaaanyway, the good news is that I received an email from Stuart Mayne of Aurealis last night, to tell me that they’ve accepted my urban Peter Pan fantasy story Never Grow Old. Which makes me happy indeed. It will appear in issue 40, which is due to be born in December. Never Grow Old marks my 5th sale to Aurealis. If the magazine were the Luftwaffe, that’d make me an ace, and I’d get to wear a little square of coloured cloth on the breast area of my t-shirt when I go to Cons.
Damn I’m in a strange mood today.
AHWA MENTORSHIPS ON AGAIN
Marty Young, happy and disturbingly attractive severed-head honcho of the Australian Horror Writer’s Association, contacted me during the week to sound out my interest in being involved in their mentorship program again next year. Given the fantastic time I had working with Mark Smith-Briggs this year, my reply was an immediate and enthusiastic Yes!
This time around, I’ll be making myself available to work with short stories, and scripts of up to 45 minutes length. No official announcements yet, but applications are likely to be open as of January 1st for mentorships to begin sometime towards March. I’ll let you know as details become available.
REMIX MY LIT
Also from the cool project front comes my participation in the Remix My Lit project. Several established authors will have their stories ‘remixed’ by up and coming new scribes, and the results, as well as the original stories, will be made available using a Creative Commons license, for people to read and to remix themselves. A dauntingly-talented list of writers from a wide variety of genres, including our own Kim Wilkins, has already signed on for what should be an awful lot of fun. More details are available at the website, and like always, I’ll keep you posted as details present themselves.
A BIG SHINY FLOWER AT THE END OF THE POST
Ooooohh, gardenporn :)
Thursday, November 08, 2007
So Lyn's out with Aiden, I'm alone at the computer, and Nick Caves' The Ship Song has come on, which is the song we were married to.
Sniff. Bloody dusty in this office........
A SHORT PAUSE
Off to Night's Edge tomorrow, where I shall eat, drink, be merry, and mark Remembrance Day by participating in a panel on wacky Nazi weapons of World War II. Classy.....
Normal service will be rant-sumed as of Monday.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
You know, it's been a bloody while since I clogged up the electrothingywebboglassteatosphere with a pointless meme. And I don't have time to do one now, so here's one I did earlier (okay, a minute or so ago), courtesy of Luscious.
Four places I have lived...
1. Nottingham, England
2. Narrogin, Western Australia
3. Rockingham, Western Australia
4. Maylands, Western Australia
Four TV shows I love to watch
1. The City Gardener
3. Time Team
4. The English Premier League (not this season though, sigh...)
Four places I have been on vacation...
Four Places I Plan to go on vacation...
2. Great Britain
3. New Zealand
Four of my favourite foods...
1. Cottage fish pie
3. Caesar Salad (especially if it contains pineapple. Try it. Go on...)
4. Creme caramel
Four Places I would rather be Right Now...
1. Night's Edge convention. First Con I've been eager to attend in over a year.24 hours to go.
2. On holiday with Lyn, wandering through somewhere spectacular for the soul.
3. Riding an elephant.
4. Inside the TARDIS. Yes, it is shallow. Shutup.
So how proud were we when we recieved an invitation to attend Aranmore High School's end of year awards ceremony because Blake was due to receive a gong? Bursting with, is the correct answer.
We don't often get a chance to say it, because Blake doesn't stay with us anywhere as much as we want, or as he should. But he is a deeply special young man, and carries limitless potential in his hyperactive young frame. In a school with such demanding academic and social requirement, to achieve any sort of award is no small thing.
We're proud of you, Blakey-boy.
Source of pride and his happy Mum
Question time: what is the figure in this picture, presented to me by a certain sweetly-smiling 5 year old daughter yesterday?
Princess? Hawaiian dancer? A friend from school? Mummy?
Allow me to quote: It's a zombie. See its dead hair and its smelly feet? And its bra!
Snurk snigger snort gasp choke......
Monday, November 05, 2007
Yeah, it has, hasn't it. Much Real Life (tm) has been the cause. Anyway, moving on....
TWO THOUGHTS THAT OCCUR TO ME WHILST WATCHING MATT JAMES ON THE CITY GARDENER
1. Cor, I love the gardens he creates
2. Why, in 5 years of high school guidance counsellors, did nobody ever offer ‘celebrity gardener’ to me?
THE HIDDEN SECRET OF THE MELBOURNE CUP
It’s just a fucking horse race.
BATTERSBY’S OBSCURE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS FOUND IN THE DUSTY CORNERS OF POPULAR CULTURE: THE FIRST IN A SERIES
Where: The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Ballantine Books, page 378
Answer: No, it was Keith David.
FOR I HAVE BOOKS!
Reading has been high on the agenda at the Batthome in days recent: a plethora of books have come our way, courtesy of contributor copies and the good folks at Powell’s. To whit:
My contributor’s copies of Year's Best Fantasy and Horror Volume 20 and Year's Best Australian SF & Fantasy Volume 3 are here, both of which contain Father Muerte & The Flesh.
Daikaiju III, the last of Rob Hood & Robin Pen’s outrageous and fun Daikaiju series stomped into the house as well, containing Beached. Lyn’s story Born of Woman is a highlight of DII, so pick them both up at the same time and see how differently we treat the same brief.
And thanks to the Lords of Paypal, The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet now sits upon my reading table. By turns outlandish and delightful, this is rapidly becoming my book of the year, filled with a terrifically entertaining array of weirdness. It’s certainly the most I’ve been engaged in a book since reading The Book of slipstream earlier in the year.
Contracts arrived, were signed, and sent back. Now we wait for the Director to read the script and decide on what (if anything, he says with an air of utter naivete) needs changing. The project remains at a fork: we still move forward, although, should the producers fail to attract a shooting budget, and the film not reach principal photography stage, I could still walk away with nothing but a large chunk of the year chalked up to experience.
Dear God, I’m a simple man…….
CLARION 2009 TUTORS ANNOUNCED
Durnit: I had a blast at Clarion South 2007, and it stands as a highlight of my professional career. But I’ve not made the cut as far as being invited back to teach again next time out. That, however, is my disappointment. You, on the other hand, should be very excited indeed by the ‘greatest hits’ lineup of former tutors who have been announced as your guides through the emotional and professional bombardment that will be Clarion South 2009. In no particular order except the actual order in which they’ll appear, they are:
Marianne de Pierres
And two entire weeks of Kelly Link & Gavin Grant.
Call me biased, but to me, that’s a genuinely exciting line up.
A CRYPTIC MESSAGE OF LOVE TO TWO OF OUR LOVELIEST FRIENDS
Star Wars on the accordion to you both, guys. We miss you.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
The plan was such a simple one: get the littlies out of the house for a few hours this morning so that Aidey-baby and B-Henry could have a morning to themselves without having their younger siblings climbing all over them at every opportunity. A few hours for the big two to lounge about like holidaying teenagers without a care or duty in the world. Which, you know, they are.
The moment we arrived home from our wandering, Aiden shot off to his best friend's house. And fair enough, too: teenager, holiday, no cares or duty. Half an hour later he was back: poo, meet fan. Fan, poo.
Because Blake couldn't stop coughing, and he couldn't stop wheezing, and his asthma protocols meant we were going to the hospital. By 12.30, he and I were in the emergency department and he was getting his first dose of super-ventolin.
And he's still there. He'll be there until the morning. His Mum's right beside him, on a fold out bed tucked into a corner of the ward. And I'm at home, having sat with him for the last couple of hours, after Lyn and I had taken shifts all afternoon to be with him. And frankly, all I want to do is put my head under my pillow and cry.
It's been 6 years since my first wife died. For those who came in late, she died in hospital. Because of hospital. There's more, but that's the crux. And still, every time I walk into a hospital, a part of my heart freezes. Walking in with someone I love, being there as they are admitted, and given a bed, and then having to leave them to come home.... sheer, unmitigated terror. And, you know, I'm the Bonus Dad, and the husband, so I'm holding it all together and making little witticisms to keep the mood light (next time you see Blakey, ask him how the circumcision went....) and absorbing all the information, and counting the puffs so Blake can concentrate on just breathing nice and slow and steady....
There's a part of me that just knows I'm not going to see him again, no matter how nonsensical and insane I know that idea to be. And I just cannot stop wanting to cry.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
2 1/2 inches long, serrated, and weighing a good 30 or 40 grams each. And these are the small ones! Having dino-loving boys is such a good excuse....
THE WEATHER HATES MY GLASS
So two weeks ago, we’re sitting down to TV of an evening, middle of a wild and woolly rainstorm, when the 6x4 foot glass screen door in our dining room decides it’s lost the will to live and BANG! Shatter city. A weird anomaly of the weather, ring the insurance company, get a guy out. One of those odd things that never happens again.
So Sunday I’m working in the garden, two feet away from our glass patio table….
What the HELL is going on with the glass in our house?
YOU KNOW YOU’RE OLD WHEN……
Your boss turns on his radio in the middle of the keyboard solo of the Doors’ Light My Fire and your 23 year old workmate asks “Is someone’s mobile ringing?”
ARISE, SIR CONNOR
Do you think Sir Lancelot started out with his sister's toy horse and twirling fairy streamers wand?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
It’s been a fairly miserable winter at the Batthome when it comes to health. One by one, we’ve all succumbed to lurgis of various descriptions: chest infections, ear infections, flus, colds, sniffles, snorts, bogies, and blurghs have kept us low and unhappy. As a result, writing has diminished to zero. For months, I just couldn't find any desire or passion in me to take it up again.
I literally couldn't find any reason to do it, not with the combination of my own illness, Lyn's, the *kids*, all the house stuff that needs doing, and on and on......
Until yesterday morning, when I returned to work after a week of sick, whereupon my fabbo team leader made me feel about as welcome as the Dalia Lama in a Chinese restaurant, and all of a sudden I had a big flash of "Ohhhh yeaaahhh, that's why I do it…"
Must escape, must escape, must escape....
Thursday, September 13, 2007
With multi-thanks to Martin Livings for sending this to Luscious and me, anybody with more than one kid has to recognise this as the funniest eBay auction description ever!
THE CAT-VACUUMING FILES, VOLUME 721....
For anyone who's interested and might want to join in, I've taken up bandwidth and precious minutes of my life playing about with a Facebook page. It's a bit of fun....
Monday, September 10, 2007
It came, we went, we were blown away.
Luscious and I headed to the Burswood dome on Saturday night to view the multi-million-dollar-multi-media-lots-of-singing-stars-and-orchestra-and-rock-band-and-bloody-enormous-video-screen-and-how-damn-cool-is-the-30-metre-high-Martian-fighting-machine-attacking-the-audience-with-lights-and-smoke musical spectacular War of The Worlds, and lets me tells ‘ee, we were not disappointed. Indeedy not. We wuz, um, appointed?
Lyn fell in love with Justin Hayward all over again because, well, he’s good looking and has a great voice and long hair and wears all white, I think. I fell in love with the giant tripod because, well, I don’t wanna talk about it….
The music was blood-stirring, the vocal performances were outstanding, and we were carried along by the thunderous narrative as if it was the first time we’d heard it. The original album is one of my favourites- I’ve owned it in three different formats, and to be honest, I half-expected to witness a simple recreation of the musical score. Instead, we were presented with an updated work, modified to accompany a theatrical performance, taking into account the characters who appeared live (as opposed to those who appeared via the multi-media portion of the performance). Rather than a simple re-telling, this was a re-imagining, bringing what was a purely aural experience into three dimensions with an aggressive bombast perfectly suited to the big arena in which it was played. It was vibrant, and fresh, and a magnificent theatrical experience.
Works such as this have always fired my imagination. I’ve always loved theatrical-style concepts albums: sure, there are some terrible examples of the form, but albums such as WotW and Alice Cooper’s The Last Temptation show what can be done if the vision is strong enough, and those involved keep a firm idea of their artistic goals.
I’ve always been attracted to works that carry from one form to another in that way, and recent advances in technology have made such interweaving of media accessible in so many more ways than in days past— Walking with Dinsoaurs Live; the Battlestar Galactica 'Webisodes'; the interactive Dr Who Invasion of the Graske episode…. and of course, there are countless other examples, both highly commercial and otherwise.
But as a creator, with an urge to flex my creative muscles, it’s inspiring. And as a geeky little fanboy with an inner ten year old who lurks thiiiiiiiisss close to the skin, who could ask for more than the total immersion such things offer?
Anyway: watched it, experienced it, loved it. What else can I say?
A teensy camera, a fair way away. But come on: how frigging
cool is that fighting machine?
Okay, so it’s next weekend, but because a) he’s at his dad’s house then and we weren’t keen on our chances of getting time with him and b) nobody wanted to wait 2 weeks if we couldn’t get him, we held Blakey-Boy’s 13th birthday a week early this weekend!
He’d tell you how much he enjoyed heading out to our favourite curry house for dinner; scarfing mass quantities of his cheesecake birthday-cake-of-choice; and playing the Gross & Yucky Electronic Trivia board game he received, but we can’t get him to put down the copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys to tell us :)
I must say, though: it’s a tad disturbing to sit near a boy who interrupts your evening at regular intervals to inform you that he now knows how to fletch his own deer hunting arrows, or which is the most poisonous animal in the country……
Kill the cake, kill the cake!
One head, much loot.
How much does she love me? Luscious returned from a shopping trip on Saturday morning, and presented me with a gift because “You never ask for anything, and we always ask you for things.” Awwww. And what did I receive? A damn cool book entitled Celluloid Serial Killers: The Real Monsters Behind the Movies by Paul B Kidd, an exploration of serial killer movies and the real-life serial killers who inspired them, and vice versa.
And bloody good reading it is, too.
As a way of getting your wallet ready to open, purchase of the upcoming Daikaiju III: Giant Monsters vs The World, the purposes of:
Have a gander at the cover art, by the ever-looney and talented Nick Stathopolous.
I mean, come on, it’s worth the money just to find out about the giant echidna, isn’t it?
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Named by my five year old daughter, impetus provide by my 14 year old Bonus son.... I've opened a cafe press store to provide a home for all the silly one-liners, cartoons, scribbled pictures of dinoasaurs, and sundry ideas that we think someone might like to have on a t-shirt.
So, as the title says: Tryserra Tops.
There's a link over there 44444444444
Right now I've put up one item, but I'll be adding more as I get the time, and letting you know, including some dinosaur designs and the odd bizarre thing involving Daleks.
JOKE OF THE DAY
You can blame Aiden for this one:
Q: What's the difference between 100 dead babies and a Ferarri?
A: I don't have a Ferarri in my garage.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
So I'm in the market for new music, but because it's too damn easy to download stuff, and JBs makes hunting shelves an exercise in mundanity, I'm forced to hunt by theme rather than artist or style.
Today's mission: songs about; starring; titled after; or just damn well written by-- superheroes.
Drop your ideas in the comments. If you're reading this via LJ feed, remember- if you comment via LJ, I won't get it, so you'll need to come to the blog page or email me.
Just to get you started, here's a few I have in my collection already--
That’s Really Super, Supergirl— XTC
Superman’s Big Sister— Ian Dury & The Blockheads
Spiderman— The Ramones
Kryptonite— Thee Doors Down
Flash— Queen (Yeah, all right, not strictly a superhero. But, you know, it's my list!)
Plastic Man— The Kinks
Particle Man— They Might Be Giants
Superman— Dina Rae/Eminem
(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman— The Kinks
Pocket Full of Kryptonite— Spin Doctors
Superman (It’s Not Easy)— Five For Fighting
First person to mention The Spiderpig Song or Prince's Batman soundtrack wins a free bullet in the back of your head when you're least expecting it.
Over at Undead Backbrain, blog of erstwhile peer and pal Rob Hood, recent days have seen the kind of combat normally reserved for bad gladiator films and the type of wrestling federations that feature guys with names like "The Ax" and "Headsplitter". It's been feral, it's been unforgiving, it's been bloody.
It's been Rob's write-a-limerick-about-daikaiju competition, and surprise, surprise, Sean Williams won. Jess Nevins, too.
Check out the shortlist here. It's an absolute hoot, with some of the most wonderfully awful, and awfully wonderful, 5 line abominations to be seen. It's a lot of fun.
Every now and again, somebody comes to this blog via the weirdest of search terms: we all know the fondness for the repeated use of Billie Piper's Nipples in search enquiries (that should be good for another couple of new visitors...)
This morning, Darkcounter revealed to me that a recent visitor came here via the search term who is the girl on hayzee fantayzee shiny shiny. Well, being a belevolent, and somewhat-bored-this-morning, God, I can tell you that the girl in question is:
Kate Garner, an English singer and photographer, who has worked with the likes of Sinéad O'Connor (including photography for the The Lion and the Cobra album); Boy George; LL Cool J; Angelina Jolie; David Bowie; and PJ Harvey. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and a bunch of others. You can find some of her photography here and some of her current work can be seen here.
More can be learned from stealing large chunks of text from her Wikipedia entry, just like I did :)
So there you go. Don't say I never teach you anything...
Sunday, August 19, 2007
A couple of years back, Ben Peek interviewed me as part of a series of mini-interviews that came to be known as Snapshot 2005.
Over at ASiF, they've decided to do it again, and Tansy Rayner Roberts sent me a set of questions yeaterday, to be added to their list of interviewees, hopefully some time today as the whole thing's supposed to wind up before tomorrow.
Anyway, if you can't wait, or like me, need some content for this blog, here's the interview in its entirety. (Don't let that stop you going and reading the rest of them at the ASiF site)
You recently had a Doctor Who story published in the Australians-heavy Short Trips: Destination Prague. What was your Doctor-Companion pairing, and just how awesome was it to be writing in the Who universe? Would you do it again?
4 of us contributed to the book: Stephen Dedman, Rob Hood, and Sean Williams, along with myself. Not bad, from 21 stories. It was fun to write for the Doctor, and I was lucky enough to be allowed to write for the 2nd Doctor, who is pretty much my favourite. It was an... interesting... experience. Big Finish and the BBC have very definite rules and regulations surrounding the characters, and my story was heavily (and, I thought, badly) edited before it saw print. I was really unhappy with the end product of that editing: I felt a lot of the nuances were cut out without a lot of thought as to the resulting shape of the story. But that's the compromise you make when you play with someone else's toys, and you know, it's The Doctor! I'd do it again in a shot. It's just one of those childhood wishes come true. Short of being a companion...
I'm talking to an editor about writing for another anthology they're proposing, and trying to make some contacts of my own in the hope of pitching an anthology idea I want to edit. It's a purely selfish fun-- I'm a big fan of the first Doctor Who run, and I enjoyed Torchwood (much more than the current Doctor Who stuff), so it's a chance to contribute to something that gives me enjoyment.
What has changed for you since the 2005 Snapshot?
I'm less involved in the local genre scene than I was. I've fallen out of love with it a lttle bit, I think. In the last two years, a number of projects have been announced amidst fanfare and pomp, only to fall apart when it came time for the people behind it to make sure it was viable. I really became sick of working on something, only to find its intended home had disappeared. Stories take time and energy, and I don't just slap things together: it pisses me off to put my heart into something and then find that others can't be bothered getting their end of the deal sorted out.
I'm a bit more disillusioned than I was when the last Snapshot was put together. I've had some bad experiences, and being part of the Australian small press environment is much less important to me than it used to be. I'm much choosier about what I get involved in, and my out-of-writing life has changed to such an extent that I have to be very sure of a project when I commit my time to producing something for it. I can't afford to invest what has become very limited writing time to working on a story for a project just because someone I know (often only electronically) is helming it, only to see it fold, for whatever reason, somewhere down the line. I work full time now, which I didn't back then, I have a new house, and my kids are older. When I write now, I'm much more interested in using that piece to advance my credentials than I used to be, because I'm lucky if I have three or four hours a week, and I have to make them count.
I've become a lot more insular, as well. I've never been particularly popular, and these days, I have a very small circle of friends, and an only slightly wider circle of acquanitances with whom I share a mutual respect. Outside of my wife and kids, I really don't have any regular contact with people. Much of that is by choice, but it's a choice with which the world seems comfortable. I've never really fit in, no matter what community I've been a part of, and SF continues that pattern. I'm *of* the community, rather than *in* it. Much of the focus of the Australian SF small press is aimed towards local magazines, and that's not where my greatest interest lies at the moment, so I've fallen out of touch quite quickly.
What are you working on right now, and what does your writing future hold?
Most of my year has been taken up working on a film adaptation of Lyn's short story The Memory of Breathing, which has been optioned by production company Azure Productions. Thanks to the wonderful Karen Miller, I've been in touch with an agent in the States who's shown some interest in taking on my novel, which has also been an ongoing process. I've written and sent a few short stories, but nowhere near my usual pace. I have stories upcoming in Daikaiju III and Dreaming Down Under II, as well as Brimstone Press' Black Box anthology, and that's all the print I have in the near future. I've been recreating my catalogue from scratch, and that takes time.
I've also spent the last three months acting as a mentor for the AHWA, working with AHWA member Mark Smith-Briggs to improve his work. So I know the name of at least one person who wants to kill me :)
Much of this year has been about divesting myself of the past: I suffered a catastrophic computer meltdown at the start of the year and lost something like 80 stories I was working on, and quite literally had to start from scratch with new work. I took that as somewhat of an omen, and decided that my focus from now on would be about doing what I *want* to do, rather than what I feel duty bound to do in order to build a 'career', particularly as that career wasn't developing along lines that satisfied me on a personal level. The people I look up to, artistically, are the likes of Spike Milligan, David Hockney, David Bowie-- artists who were able to create a place for themselves across several forms of media. I'd like to build something similar. I don't want to be an SF writer. Not *just*, anyway. I'd like my wings to spread a little wider.
Do you read much in the Aus spec fic scene? What's the best thing you've read this year?
I don't read much local SF these days. I don't enjoy it: not the work, so much, but I fall too easily into the habit of comparing and contrasting people's work with my own. And, to be honest, I still don't feel like enough work pushes hard enough-- there's still too many people playing safe, producing middle-of-the-road work instead of reaching for something artistically challenging. I read a lot of non-fiction, partly beause it's grist for my mill, and partly because of my own, personal, obsessions. For the same reasons, my TV watching tends towards documentaries. I escape into history, archaeology, true crime, et al, rather than into fiction.
Undoubtedly the best book I've read this year is Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII by John Cornwell. It's an absolutely stunning dissection of a truly evil and tyrannical man, and a revelatory work. Fiction-wise, The Portrait of Mrs Charbuque by Jeffrey Ford has been the highlight. Lyn read it, and raved about it, and I picked it up on her insistence. A bit contrived, and the ending is a letdown, but it's still a delightful and entrancing journey.
Finally, if you had the chance to get it on with the fictional character you fancy most, who would it be?
Ah, the obligatory wacky snapshot-ending question :)
Thanks for the offer, but, trite as it may sound to anyone who doesn't understand, I already have a real life wife who satisfies all my desires. I simply don't fancy anybody else.
So there you go.
It beats being boring, I suppose :)
Rich Horton's take on Aurealis 37, in which he enthuses about the Father Muerte stories, calling them quite decidedly odd and meaning it as a good thing.
And a review of Dr Who: Destination Prague, in which Richard McGinlay not enthuses about The Time Eater, calling it almost incomprehensible and not meaning it as a good thing.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
20 years ago, I was playing upwards of 5 sports a week, was well on my way to earning the 5th highest TEE score my high school had recorded, and couldn't make my mind up between going to Uni to be a paleontologist and applying to ADFA to beome an officer.
What a fat, useless, waste of gentic meterial I have beome.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Well, it’s the season again: the Aurealis Awards have opened for nominations, and as usual, the arguments over the nomination process have begun.
I’ve played that game, and frankly, it bores me. What I’d rather do is draw your attention to this. Trent Jamieson is a subtle and talented writer, a major figure in the Australian SF short fiction scene, and one of the nicest and most graceful people going round. Let's be honest- the man is damned gentlemanly. Here he gives us, in the most articulate way possible, every reason why the AAs are a worthwhile endeavour, and why they deserve support and recognition. Go, read.
In point of fact, I like Trent’s approach so much, I’m going to blatantly copy it :)
So, for your edification and possible scorn:
A BLATANT LACING OF TJ’S SHOES
I’ve been nominated for the Aurealis Awards on several occasions, and won the award for Best Horror Short story in 2006.
What did it mean to me to win? Validation, in a way. A jury of my peers had decided that one of my works was the best they had seen that year. Many of the writers with whom I conversed on a regular basis, and whose works and careers I admired, owned that little glass crescent: Geoff Maloney, Stephen Dedman, Dave Luckett, Sean Williams. Now I could count myself amongst their number, and for the first time in my career, not feel that I was a squire in master’s robes.
I had been fortunate, in all the time I had been a part of the Australian SF scene, that writers of much greater experience and mastery of the form had treated me as an equal, without reservation, when they had every right to treat me like the neophyte I undoubtedly was. The perception, I’m certain, was entirely mine, but now I felt like I could look them in the eye. On very few things do I indulge my ego, but belief in myself as a writer is one of them. To have a group of my fellows judge my work against the warp and weft of Australian publications, and pin a blue ribbon on its chest, elevated me. It was one thing for me to believe in my work—I do, without question. That others believed in it, well, that was another thing altogether.
Attending the Award ceremony, which I’ve done for the last 3 years (alas, I shall miss out this year) has brought me face to face with any number of people with whom I’ve since established firm friendships, along with a whole swathe of others with whom I’d already conversed via email: Geoff Maloney, Paul Haines, Brendan Duffy; Rob Hoge, Kate Eltham, Jason Nahrung, Karen Miller, Rjurik Davidson, Trent Jamieson, Heather Gammage, Margo Lanagan, Robert Dobson, Stephen Thompson, Kirsten Bishop, entire busloads of Vision Writing Group members…... I’ve given my family an interstate holiday, been invited back to tutor at Clarion South and conduct workshops for the Queensland Writer’s Centre, eaten the best Italian food of my life, gone backwards down a roller coaster, fondled the leg of a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, been invited to contribute to anthologies, eaten the worst Lebanese food of my life, and may be on the verge of signing with an overseas agent… all because I had the chance to win an Aurealis Award.
Truth is, there are very few awards that have a directly beneficial effect on your career. That’s not why they’re important. Awards are important, at least to me, because they form a focal point for everything that’s going on around you at the time. They’re a nexus point, a way of underlining what came before, and what you aim for afterwards. And they give you a chance to frock up, clink glasses with your peers, and at least for one night of the year, pretend to yourself that what you do does matter a damn to the universe. It’s a good feeling.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Ballerina Erin at Anna & Art's wedding
Birthdays mean allll the cake you want....
Boy in search of rest of boy band, with Mum.
Red Nose Day: another picture for the I can't wait until he gets a girlfriend collection
I love you, darling.
New links from a couple of writing pals:
Mark Smith-Briggs, the newly re-badged and updated Mark Smith, with better handling and increased cornering speed.
And the strange creature known to man only as Jason Fischer: Clarionite, bon vivant, adorer of flesh-eating camels, and all round cool guy.
Go. Read. Link. Introduce yourself. Make sure your shots are up to date....
Friday, July 06, 2007
Writing has been demoted from the back seat to the space underneath the spare tyre at the bottom of the boot in recent weeks: I’m back at full time work, and have just been made permanent with a small promotion to boot, so the days have been filled with train travel, wondering what the hell I’m doing back in the Public Service, and paying bills. Not to mention that Foxtel’s IQ program-taping service is the tool of the Devil….
However, a few speccy bits and bobs have arrived to remind the Universe that I do, occasionally, raise my head above the edge of the rut:
101 Reasons To Stop Writing, the acerbic and oft-hilarious anti-writing blog run by my gooderest buddy Sean Lindsay has posted a round-the-table interview with myself, Simon Haynes, Tehani Croft and an anonymous mystery reader on the editing habits of the average ASIM slush reader. It's in three parts: here; here; and here. As an added bonus, he's also noted down my favourite slush reading horror story and reproduced it for posterity. Enjoy.
Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, one my very favouritestest places to sell and read stories, has released no less than three 'Best Of' volumes in electronic format. The Best of SF volume contains Murderworld; you’ll find Through The Window Merrilee Dances and the poem Eight For Working within The Best of Fantasy; and Best of Horror will net you not only The Hobbyist but Lyn’s soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture-if-everything-turns-out-right The Memory of Breathing.
Apart from a serious case of Battersbys, you'll find work by the likes of Stephen Dedman; Dirk Flinthart; Dave Luckett; Tom Holt; Paul Haines; Martin Livings; Jeff Van Der Meer and Mikal Trimm.
And Dr Who: Destination Prague supremo Steven Savile has negotiated a whole bunch of value-added goodies for purchasers of this fine volume (with no less than 4 Australian authors at no added cost!) from American Good Guy Mike's Comics .
In Steve's own words:
First, Michael has cut his advertised price on Destination Prague to $17.99. This is outstanding value to anyone, regardless of added bonuses. . . oh yes, keep listening for those. They'll keep this pricing at least until August 1, 2007.
Second, some additional incentives which will again last until around at least until August 1 as well. Michael's Comics will make available sets of the first four Dark Shadows audios for $39.00 to anyone who buys Destination Prague. (The Big Finish site has the Dark Shadows Season 1 at $68.00 purchased separately and $58.00 as a set.) If the customer is in the US and buys this package, we'll also offer *free* Media Mail shipping and handling on the combined order. In case it helps, we'll also offer Doctor Who monthly 2CDs #93-95 each at $14.99 with DP...suggested retail is $25.98 each.
Third, they are going to add a Short Trips subscription offer on their site soon, and will try to add an additional discount, which will be most likely unadvertised, if DP is the start of the subscription.
Fourth, if someone wants to catch up on earlier Short Trips books as well, and wants to buy a bunch (say 10 or more), until August 1, we'll come down to that same $17.99 price for each Short Trips HC if they're also picking up DP, and, again, for a package like this to a US customer we'd offer free Media Mail shipping and handling.
And as a little bonus for Michael's comics there will be three book plates, signed by various contributors to the book, included for the first 60 customers - one per customer, and no plate will contain every signature, but they will contain PLENTY, call it a random surprise... a little gift from us, to the readers.
So who's in this WHO? Sean Williams; James A. Moore; Keith R.A. DeCandido; Mike W. Barr; Paul Kupperberg; "Robert Hood; Brian Keene; Paul Crilley; Stephen Dedman; Paul Finch; Steve Lockley & Paul Lewis; Chris Roberson; Mary Robinette Kowal; Bev Vincent; James Swallow; Gary A. Braunbeck & Lucy A. Snyder; Kevin Killiany; Tim Waggoner; Todd McCaffrey; Stel Pavlou, and ME!
So, what are you waiying for? Go HERE and purchase, you mad, crazy Dr Who purchasing fools, you!
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
It was good, it wasn’t funny, but it was good.
Erin Battersby, age 5.
Aiden Triffitt, age 14
It was better than Shrek 2, which makes it only the 3rd worst movie ever made.
Blake Triffitt, age 13
(For the record, Blake considers Polar Express to be the worst. I’m not arguing….)
My darling wife turned 38 on the 24th of June. If I disappear in mysterious circumstances before we next meet, remember: she knows I told you her age.
Thanks to bills and off-pay weeks, the day of her birthday was a relatively low-key affair: just us and most of the kids (We’ve given up counting on Darth Barbie), but the Emily The Strange bag and purse were perfect gifts, and a bottle of her favourite perfume made my darling a happy Mummy indeed.
The following Sunday, some friends and family braved the conditions to join us for lunch and cake. Thanks to the weather, we were treated to a surprise indoors waterfall when the rain and wind managed to pop a seal on our patio door an hour before everyone arrived, and our oven shorted out to boot, so what had been, 61 minutes before veryone arrived, a perfectly orchestrated lunch date became a combination of panic, hilarity, and burnt-to-buggery baked fish. Thanks goodness for Lyn’s ability to cook apricot chicken, and Erin’s grandmother’s ability to cook a fabulous fried rice :)
A gaggle of high-spirited close ones, jet-propelled under-5s running from one end of the house to the other laughing insanely, some hilarious and pointed ex-husband conversation once the assembled women realised they’d all gone through the delightful experience of dealing with a broken marriage (I wasn’t going to stop them: I know almost all the men in question, and the women are right), handily-placed wine, bourbon, and cheesecake: it all turned out all right.
Many thanks to everyone who joined us for taking a miserable and wet day and turning it into a fun family occasion, and reinforcing our belief that family is a matter of choice.
MY WIFE MAKES ME PROUD
Lyn has decided that her 39th year on the planet is going to be one of achievements: specifically, she’s going to achieve one thing each month that she’s never before tried. July’s new experience: my darling is going to learn to fire a gun.
Cool, huh? Pictures will follow.
Of course, if August’s task will be to learn how to hide poison in food, I might be after a place to stay…..
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
It’s no secret that I think I’m married to an astonishing woman.
One of the things that makes me most proud is the way that Lyn strives to extend her boundaries. She sets goals, opens herself up to new possibilities, and never accepts the idea that, just because she’s a mother and a woman and a housewife, she should confine herself to the roles that others expect of her. Over the last month, I’ve seen this quality in abundance.
RUN, MOTHER, RUN
On Mother’s Day, rather than take the breakfast-in-bed and foot rub option, Lyn decided she wanted to enter the Mother’s Day Classic, a 3 ½ kilometre run around Lake Monger that involved working out for weeks beforehand, getting up at the crack of aaagh, and sweating her ass off whilst spotty 15 year olds jogged past her with their rock and roll and their new permissiveness and their long hair and… where was I?
I’ve waffled on, every now and again, about my attempts at weight loss. Lyn’s been just as dedicated in her own efforts, as I have in mine, and she viewed this as a great way to gauge her progress: run for as long as she could, walk for a while, then run again; and so on around the track. That was the plan, anyway. Apart from doing something to benefit a worthy cause (Breast cancer research) and feeling good about her solidarity with other women, she’d have a real-world benchmark for her fitness efforts.
So, given that it was Mother’s Day, and what she wants, she gets, we all piled into the Battmobile and headed off to watch her (Well, the kids headed off to play on the bouncy castle and get their faces painted, and run around on the grass, and play on the bouncy castle again. I watched.) We taped her iPod earphones in, pinned her competitor’s number plate to her back, and waved as the starter got the runners under way and she disappeared around the first bend.
I am not a number! I am a free... oh, wait...
21-odd minutes later, she was back, having run the entire way and finished in the top 30 for her grouping: elated, exhausted, and slightly disbelieving of the magnitude of her effort. This, from a self-confessed non-sporty type, who considered it her moral duty to wag every sports carnival her school ever held. She didn't just push a boundary, she burst through and kept on running. Literally.
Victory isn't just about coming first.
Long ago, when the world was young and Dinosaur Junior roamed the Earth, I graduated university with a postgraduate diploma that I intend to turn into an MA any day now.
At the same time, Lyn was about to give birth to Cassie, the first of three children she would have with her first husband. For reasons to tedious to go into here, she was never able to complete a course of tertiary study, and it’s been a need that has gnawed away at her over the years.
Last year, you will recall, she made good on it, and graduated with a Certificate of Relaxation Massage from the Australian Institute. And last month, we glammed up and attended her graduation ceremony.
The meal was brilliant, the entertainment was hilarious in the way that only people you know happily making complete knob-ends of themselves can be; and Lyn looked stunning beyond words. And when she was presented her graduation portfolio, it was the culmination of something long-held and deeply important, and I was both proud and humbled to be there to see it.
Over the last few years, Lyn has slowly been trying to establish herself as a writer. She’s sold a dozen or so short stories, and edited for a couple of magazines, and developed a growing reputation within the Australian SF community. However, she’s come to a point where selling one or two stories a year isn’t going to develop her career in any significant way. At the start of the year, when we sat down to work out our goals for 2007, she set herself a target of 12 submissions. That would represent a significant increase in productivity, and hopefully, she might see a better return than in previous years.
As of the end of May, 5/12ths of the way through the year, she’s reached 13 submissions, and sold 4 stories. Both numbers exceed my own efforts, and given that being prolific is part of my charm, I think she’s finally set for a period where her bibliography matches her astounding talent.
People constantly underestimate Lyn: she’s small, and gently spoken, and long years of religious belief have given her a forgiving and well-wishing nature. But she has greater strength and potential than she knows, and I am constantly amazed at just what she can achieve when given the opportunity to do so. For most of her adult life, my darling wife has struggled to create a sense of self because the social institutions of which she was a part demanded that she stifle her potential in order to fit their notions of what she should be. She is a woman of unlimited potential.
And I am the proudest of husbands.
The woman I love